Typhlops lumbricalis (LINNAEUS, 1758)
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|Higher Taxa||Typhlopidae (Typhlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Cuban Brown Blindsnake, Earthworm Blind Snake|
|Synonym||Anguis lumbricalis LINNAEUS 1758: 228|
Typhlops lumbricalis — OPPEL 1811
Typhlops cubae BIBRON in DE LA SAGRA 1843: 122
Typhlops lumbricalis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 287
Typhlops lumbricalis — BOULENGER 1893: 31
Typhlops lumbricalis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 651
Typhlops lumbricalis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 108
Typhlops lumbricalis — KORNILIOS et al. 2013
Typhlops lumbricalis — HEDGES et al. 2014
Typhlops lumbricalis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 765
|Distribution||Bahama Islands: Little Bahama Bank (Water Cay, Little and Great Ragged islands) and Great Bahama Bank: Abaco Islands (Great and Little Abaco islands), Andros Island, Berry Islands (Great Harbour Cay), Bimini Islands (South Bimini Island), Cat Island, Eleuthera Island, Exuma Cays (Great and Little Exuma islands, Pipe Cay, Staniel Cay), Long Island, and New Providence Island.|
Type locality: “Cuba” (BIBRON 1843); restricted to “Bahamas islands” by THOMAS 1989.
|Types||Neotype: KU 273756, suggested by Dominguez & Diaz 2011|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis (genus). Species of Typhlops have (1) eye, distinct, (2) snout, rounded, (3) head scale arrangement, non-circular, (4) frontorostral, absent, (5) nasal, completely divided (rarely incomplete), (6) nasal suture origin, supralabial 2, (7) suboculars or subpreoculars, absent (rarely present), (8) postoculars, 2 (rarely 1 or 3; average, 1.85), (9) preocular-labial contact, supralabial 3 (rarely none), (10) midbody scale rows, 18 or 22 (average, 20.0), (11) scale row reduction, present or absent, (12) total scale rows, 231–457 (average, 312), (13) caudals, 8–19 (average, 13.1), (14) maximum total length, 126–445 (average, 243) mm, (15) total length/midbody diameter, 23–57 (average, 35.9), (16) total length/tail length, 18–88 (36.8), (17) dorsal color, always pigmented, brown or tan, (18) ventral color, unpigmented (pinkish), white, or cream, (19) dorsum darker than venter, and (20) overall, lacking any distinctive pattern (spots, lines, or stripes), although rarely a faint trace of a dorsal line (Tables 1–2); molecular phylogenetic support|
(Figs. 1, 3).
Among its closest relatives (Figs. 1, 3), Typhlops is distinguished from Cubatyphlops by the presence of 2 postoculars (versus 1; except in 3 species of Typhlops with 1 postocular) and preocular contact with supralabial 3 only (versus contact with supralabials 2 and 3 in Cubatyphlops) (Table 2). The same distinction holds for Typhlops versus the more distantly related Amerotyphlops, although 4 species of that latter genus have more than 1 postocular (Thomas 1968; 1976; Dixon & Hendricks 1979; Thomas & Hedges 2007). Typhlops and Antillotyphlops require closest comparison. Thomas (1989) found that species placed here in the genus Typhlops formed a group separate from species placed here in Antillotyphlops based on reduction of the basihyal and a lower number of total middorsal scale rows. He excluded T. jamaicensis and T. sulcatus from that definition, but the molecular data place those two species together with others in Typhlops sensu stricto [HEDGES et al. 2014: 47]. For an alternative diagnosis see PYRON & WALLACH 2014: 45.
Diagnosis. Typhlops lumbricalis (sensu stricto) is the smallest West Indian blind snake (166 mm maximum TL). This species, three described species from Hispaniola (T. schwartzi, T. tetrathyreus, and T. titanops), and two Cuban species described in this paper are related and define a species group: the T. lumbricalis (see Discussion). This group can be distinguished from other West Indian species groups by its 20 scale rows anteriorly, reducing posteriorly to 18 scale rows, low middorsal scale counts (,350, occasionally ,300), single preocular contacting with third supralabial only, and two postoculars. Typhlops lumbricalis (sensu stricto) differs from some of these species (including new Cuban species) by its rounded snout (in dorsal and lateral views), narrow oval rostral in dorsal view (0.51–0.61 RWD/RLD), weakly divergent post-nasal pattern, small parietals, and low middorsal scale counts (,275). The closest species from Hispaniola is T. tetrathyreus. Both species have a rounded snout, low middorsal scale counts (,285), and narrow oval rostral in dorsal view. But T. lumbricalis (sensu stricto) can be distinguished from T. tetrathyreus by its dorsal snout pattern (rounded vs. weakly ogival) and postnasal pattern (parallel to weakly divergent vs. calyculate). Because the new Cuban species were previously confused with T. lumbricalis, our discussion below will focus mostly on diagnostic traits among them.
|Comment||Type species: Anguis lumbricalis LINNAEUS 1758: 228 is the type species of the genus Typhlops SCHNEIDER in OPPEL 1811.|
Type genus: Typhlops is the type genus of the subfamily Typhlopinae and the family Typhlopidae.
Phylogenetics: for a phylogenetic analysis of Typhopidae see Sidharthan & Karanth 2021.
Synonymy: Typhlops silus LEGLER 1959 has been removed from the synonymy of T. lumbricalis. Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic names Acetyphlops Hoser 2012, Altmantyphlops Hoser 2012, Arnoldtyphlops Hoser 2012, Copelandtyphlops Hoser 2012, Crottytyphlops Hoser 2012, Dannytyphlops Hoser 2012, Edwardstyphlops Hoser 2012, Eippertyphlopea Hoser 2012, Elliotttyphlopea Hoser 2012, Freudtyphlops Hoser 2012, Goldsteintyphlops Hoser 2012, Judywhybrowea Hoser 2012, Katrinhosertyphlops Hoser 2012, Lenhosertyphlops Hoser 2012, Mosestyphlops Hoser 2012, Nintyphlops Hoser 2012, Pillotttyphlops Hoser 2012, Rentontyphlops Hoser 2012, Rolyburrellus Hoser 2012, Ronhoserus Hoser 2012, Woolftyphlops Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected their use instead of Typhlops.
Typhlops (Diaphorotyphlops) disparilis JAN, in JAN & SORDELLI 1860-1866 is a species of unknown status and thus listed under “species inquirenda” by several authors, e.g. WALLACH et al. 2014: 837, (following Hahn 1980: 76), MCDIARMID, et al. 1999: 125 etc. It’s distribution and type locality are unknown (according to HAHN 1980) and the type destroyed. However, the species has been mentioned in a few papers, e.g. as Diaphorotyphlops disparilis (PETERS 1881: 70) or
Typhlops disparilis (BOULENGER 1893: 53).
For illustrations see Vogel, 1965; Vogel, 1966; Thomas, 1974; Thomas, 1976.
When A. lumbricalis was published this taxon was composite of two names currently used for two distinct species, Typhlops lumbricalis from the Cuban archipelago and the Bahamas and Typhlops jamaicensis (Shaw, 1802) from Jamaica. The now-nominal species Anguis jamaicensis was based on two of the references cited by Linnaeus and the name jamaicensis is a replacement name for lumbricalis.
Distribution: restricted to the Bahamas Islands by DOMINGUEZ & DIAZ 2011. Populations from other localities have been assigned to other species by DOMINGUEZ & DIAZ 2011. The species has previously been reported from Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, Hispaniola, Bahamas, Guyana (introduced), Jamaica (BARBOUR 1910), and the USA (Florida and Puerto Rico). Records of this species from Guyana and Florida, USA, are based in specimens stored in museums (e.g., Myers, 1958; Peters and Orejas– Miranda, 1970). These records are mistakes because they were based on misidentifications and erroneous locality data (Dixon and Hen- dricks, 1979; McDiarmid et al., 1999).
|Etymology||Named after Latin lumbricus = earthworm, based on the similarity to earthworms and their fossorial life style.|
The generic name, a masculine noun, is Greek (”typhlos”), meaning ‘blind’ from (”typhl-” = blind + ops = eye). The genus name is feminine (fide Savage 1950).
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